Looking for rare “Erebia christi”
A new Entomological Expedition looking for rare Erebia christi (Rätzer, 1890) in the Italian Alps. Erebia Christi, the Raetzer’s ringlet, is one of the rarest European butterflies.
This endemic and local species is restricted to the border area of Switzerland and Italy and its conservation status has been recently classified as VUlnerable by IUCN.
Together with Matteo Gabaglio, biologist and dear friend too (the best field assistant I could hoped for this work!), we tested a new sampling approach to monitoring Erebia christi in known/unknown sites and habitat. The Research was funded by the Natural Parks of the Ossola’s Protected Areas (http://www.areeprotetteossola.it/it/).
We tried to collect butterfly in habitats that no other entomologists ever explored ..the rock faces. We equipped the cliffs with temporary ropes and anchors and we collected butterflies on near vertical-rocky slopes. We are grateful to nature for the strong big larch trees that safeguarded us during vertical transect operations.
Despite the exhausting work, it was cool and valuable!! Maybe.. we helped to improve the knowledge about the Raetzer’s ringlet. Scientific results are “work in progress”.
More pictures about Erebia christi here.
“Sul campo, dal campo (156) / 04-lug-’15, h23:00 (translation)
[..] Good results today, 13 ind. observed and 3 recapture. Vertical transects begin to be heavy for our arms, back and legs, due to approaching and downs. Again Parnassius phoebus and P. apollo. In the evening good pictures of one Erebia christi male [..]. Morning spent on rock faces with “our” eagle and ~30 alpine chough passed 20 meters above our heads, close to the cliffs, beautiful. We are working where eagle, ibex and Erebia christi dare. [..]
We looked for Erebia christi in more than one Alpine valley and We stayed overnight in the wilder ones. The routine was: wake up, have Italian coffee (always and everywhere!) and hope for a no-windy and sunny day. The most important things? Don’t forget the harness, carabiners and quickdraws, and avoid dropping the net.
In the end.. here we are!
Bibliography – Do you want to improve your knowledge about?
Grande Andrea! Enza
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This was a fascinating post. I’ve done some climbing (trees – rope and saddle) and relate to the intrigue of searching inaccessible habitats for flora and fauna. In the northeastern U.S. the steep rocky slopes often have rare plants partly because deer can’t get at them. Thanks, and well done!
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